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Part of Chapter 3 because the rest was too stupid... -.-
The cheery song of birds veiled in long, weeping leaves ceased; Ganzania’s gallop also halted. She peered down at the ground and far in front of her until Max appeared by her side.
“Why’d you stop?” He questioned her, his blue denim jacket now exhibiting the dusty remains of his venture.
“The fog is so thick, and I can’t see the ground hardly at all,” her worried expression forced Max to give in to her implied request: Walk in front of me, please?
“What do you need to see the ground for? It’s the same every time I come here.”
“That doesn’t help me a bit,” she yelled from behind as the uneven forest floor in front of her gradually increased to a steep incline. Large stones held fast to the hill mostly buried under mounds of soil.
“Hurry up! I don’t think this is even a good idea. We should be in school,” Max continued to climb over the gentle terrain, all the while glancing back and offering helpful encouragements to the distressed climber, “Geddup here right now! Don’t touch that poison ivy! Please stop looking at the birds that you’ve seen before a million times! Please stop screaming every time you trip,” Max retorted and added, “Maybe you shouldn’t have worn heels.”
She followed, splaying her fingers and squealing, “Wait, wait, wait. Oh— thanks.”
“No problem,” he sighed, raising his eyebrows, which wavered at his sigh. Everything on him sighed and yawned even in the small hours of the morning. They’d finally reached their destination. The fog brimmed at the temple’s entryway, and the two made their hasty approach. Ganzania inevitably tripped upon entry, catching her hand on the stone foundation, causing a stir in the atmosphere.
“Who goes there?” a wheezy, but trustworthy voice called out from the dimly lit chamber. Through the thicket of fog, and from behind a small, wooden table, a pair of reading spectacles glimmered with a faint crest of radiance, as if to scare off of repel enemies. The creepy, floating glasses quickly were recognized with a set, wise face that had seen many years. The figure’s wispy, grey hair was almost indistinguishable form the cloudiness of the room however Max recognized this figure instantly.
“Only us, Obfallius,” Max announced, and Ganzania stood in apprehension while she awaited the elder’s move. With a slightly gnarled hand, he motioned for them to proceed and sit in the two wooden chairs placed across from him at the small, circular table. He balled his right hand into a fist and moved it slowly over a crystalline orb that suddenly radiated a luminescent green, then blue, then red. Ganzania stared helplessly into its depths.
“Which truth are you seeking today? The next lesson being taught at school, so you can study in advance? Or perhaps you seek a fortune of love? If not that, a fortune assessing the future well-being of this friend?” He spared a penetrating, sideways glance to Ganzania. Max cut Obfallius’ observation short.
“Actually, we’re just coming from the beach—”
“C-coming from the beach!” The pitch of his voice heightened, “Nonsense. A child such as you would have a liver-brained amount of sense to visit that cursed of an area. I must inevitably ask why. Why did you visit this ludicrously suicidal site? Could’ve –should’ve– been killed,” a scoff blew across the table.
Max’s pulse raced. He hadn’t planned a reaction of this magnitude, so he did the only sensible thing.
“Ganzania made me!” The girl’s head whipped up at the mention of her name.
“Huh?” She asked in a light, fazed tone.
“Didn’t you want to see the desert shore?” Max accused, shifting uncomfortably in his seat. Ganzania paused with her mouth open and looked at both people. The truth was the inevitable yes, but instead she subtly avoided the truth.
“I don’t think so,” she replied in an intimidated voice. The gases seemed to orbit horizontally around the very center of the orb like the earth on its axis. It emitted a dark and royal red color as if to say, ‘Ganzania, you’re lying! Tell the truth, tell the truth!’ The orb said mutely shouting its allegation. She recoiled.
“It was my idea! Sorry, I must’ve forgotten,” her heart fluttered before the orb decreased in intensity. She was too intimidated to speak and rose to take her leave, only to be halted by the augmenting red. She groaned and took her seat.
Meanwhile, the psychic studied her behavior, pulling on his full, white beard and sharpening his eyes in contempt. There were a few blinks of silence before the wise man continued his interrogation with his hands clasped at his chin.
“I’ve put the story together, Ganzania. You know how dangerous it is to go down there, correct?”
“Um… yes,” what more could she have said? Yes, I was being stupid, and I knew certain death could be a problem? Not unless she wanted to be kicked out of there faster than all get out. Ironically, the man leaned back in his chair and laughed. Ganzania turned to Max, and saw his mutual confusion.
“Okay, I’ll admit. I saw you two coming and planned the whole thing. Max, later you will ask if you will sneak into school without being noticed, and sorry, but they will notice you and give you two weeks detention,” his expression fell slightly, “And, ah, I am sorry to hear that since that’s the prime time you usually visit the temple. But that’s how things work,” the stool grinded on the stone floor as he stood up to open a miniature cabinet behind him full of strange cloth. It was of all varieties; large, small, blue, starry, red, green, ragged, new.
Obfallius pulled a cloth out from the mass that was specifically rough, blue and ancient looking. He rubbed the blue cloth against the sphere’s crystalline surface, and the gasses inside immediately morphed into a deep blue hue. The dissipating swirls reminded Max of dropping a dot of food coloring into a glass of water, but on a larger, more magnificent scale. “Max, what did you want to ask before you return to school?” The blue cloth continued to procure a great amount of blue tendrils spiraling from the orb’s center.
Max rubbed his sweaty hands against his pants and presented his burden, “On the way back from the shore, I saw a large rock, like a boulder. I felt it, and it had very cold and a smooth but bumpy texture, like dry ice,” he paused as he saw Obfallius jotting notes on a stray piece of paper with hasty and reckless handwriting.
“Continue,” he encouraged without glancing up.
Max shifted in his seat and expressed, “It was large enough to sit on. The color was a grayish-black with a slight purple shade mixed in. Also, it had small craters, and I mean they weren’t deep, but they were wide in diameter.”
“Is this all you remember?”
“Yes,” Max said, again remaining seated as Obfallius pushed back his chair and ventured over to his bookshelves.
“Girl, please get me that ladder over to your left. The highest one with the missing beam at the bottom, please,” Obfallius said while scanning a bookshelf-full of encyclopedias that were only M-N. Ganzania mustered strength from her frail figure to drag the ladder toward the opposite wall, a journey which took her all of eight seconds. Climbing midway up the ladder, the old man reached far to his left and heaved a hefty volume from its crammed space, and books immediately fell together, filling its absence like a liquid.
Obfallius requested, “Max, please come here to catch this book as I drop it to you,” Max swiftly walked across the cobblestone floor to the foot of the ladder and raised his arms with bent elbows. The man let go of the book so it was parallel to the ground, and the boy braced himself. His locked arms nearly buckled under its weight. “Remember, sticks and stones may break your bones but words will never hurt you. Bring it to the table.”
The broad cover of the encyclopedia showed sure signs that it hadn’t been read in a while. Dust covered part of the title, and Obfallius swept it off to reveal a large “M” at the top followed by the title, Minerals; Including Benefits to Humans, and Igneous, Metamorphic and Sedimentary Rocks.
“Was this solitary stone a very deep black?” he questioned.
Max replied, “Yes,” and Obfallius flipped to a page as if already in closing pursuit of the answer.
“Could it be this rock here?” A miniature photo of an obsidian stone was shown. The stone was excellently photographed to look dense and heavy. Ganzania returned her attention to the orb and focused with expectant attention. The gasses continued whirling and spiraling with no less grandeur.
Max felt a wave of embarrassment, and his ears reddened, “There’s a small thing I forgot to mention,” he shifted uncomfortably in his chair. A sudden lump appeared at the back of this throat, so he talked with his hands’ assistance as he often did. “It wasn’t exactly a normal rock. When I said it was large enough to sit on, I meant it could be, but if I had, I would’ve probably fallen through,” he ended on a tense note of uncertainty.
“You mean to say that this rock was holographic?” Obfallius’ expression was unsure, but still genuinely interested, “Well, we can rule out everything in this encyclopedia then. Well have to go the G-H for ghost rocks,” he chuckled.
Ganzania gasped silently to herself at the image forming before her in the crystalline orb, oblivious to the surrounding conversation, but in return, Max and Obfallius were obviously unaware of the scene being portrayed in the large, glass orb. A gaseous and wispy movie of recently passed events played out before her in the blue spirals. She studied the scene. It was her and Max from only a half an hour ago down by the desert shore.
A miniature Ganzania strutted away from the site, almost out of the picture displayed. Max knelt down by the enigmatic discovery and attempted to seize it in his wide arms. The surprise replayed, and the couple eventually took off in the opposite direction of the ocean. Ganzania saw the following occurrence for the very first time during her life. The gargantuan fin of Mortswar hurled toward the stone and lifted it –yes, lifted it– as if it were a weightless grain of sand from the beach. The fin stealthfully submerged without a ripple, and the entire thing was if it had never happened. There were no witnesses, until now.
Her eyes had just feasted on what most never see in the span of their lifetime.
“Obfallius, you know your thingy over here just played, right?” She jabbed an innocent finger toward the ball, whose gasses were now disintegrating back into their rhythmic and abstract pattern.
“Shoot! I forgot what I was doing. I went to retrieve the book, and my old age got the best of me,” he said with a suspicious lack of sincerity to his upset emotion. He took hold of the blue cloth and polished the surface of the orb fervently. As the cloth brushed the orb, the gasses became obedient and stimulated once more. A holographic solid appeared in the center and the scene gradually began to replay. The fin, once again, appeared as the focal point of the movie. Obfallius ‘ooh’d’ and ‘ahh’d’ as he had his revelation. His first thought augmented in his thoughts until it had to burst out.
“This clearly is not an ordinary stone, not if Mortswar wanted it. Something tells me he wasn’t simply cleaning up the beach. Max, quickly fetch the starry cloth from the cupboard behind me. Quick, quick!” he commanded eagerly.
Max returned with the perfect square of starry cloths. The piece was exceptionally fuzzy and thick as though it was wool. A static shock leapt to the old man’s during the hasty hand-off.
The fabric halted the hologram immediately after it was placed on top of the crystalline orb. Obfallius reached under his chair and retrieved a large, red table cloth and draped it carefully over his prized possession so as not to displace the starry fabric.
“I want to review this later and study it,” and that was simply all he said before retiring to a back room preceded by a stone-arc. Max followed him. After knowing a man for sixteen years, the boy was certainly like family to the old man. Ganzania tagged along unexpectedly.
“What do the cloths do? Do they help you tell the future?” she squawked. Obfallius poked his head around the stone arc and hastened back.
“Sorry for disappearing, kids, but I feel like on hot on the trail of a mystery.”
“So what do they do?” she persisted, standing in the same spot as Obfallius went to pick four different color cloths from the cupboard behind his clairvoyance chair. He exhibited four different colors: Blue, red, green, and starry, which had a black background and dull, white stars. He plucked the blue fabric from the mess.
“This is the Suter Cloth, and you know suter is Hiphartian for “past”. This is similar to the cloth I used to rub the crystal orb with to bring about that apparitional movie. Then this cloth,” he picked up the red piece,” is what I call the Stusher Cloth since it reveals the present to me at my will. This piece doesn’t work as well as I’d like because it has so many mysterious restrictions such as not working a certain distance away from the orb. This exact, very cloth was used to watch the progression of Sombradov into the mainland before the Purity was anointed. And this is my favorite, a great personal favorite,” he smiled then wheezed as he turned to reveal the anticipated ability of the lastly selected cloth, “This one allows me to see the near future, but it’s a devil. It has strange restriction set upon it, also. I’ve never been able to see into the next nearest year, but I can see what you’ll have for breakfast tomorrow.”
“And that’s called the Vayner cloth, right?” Maxed guessed since he was bilingual with Hiphartian and English along with most of the island’s inhabitants. The Hiphartian language was thousands of years old and adapted by the early natives.
“That’s correct. Vayner is Hiphartian for “the unknown”, he smiled as he dangled the cloth in front of the visitors’ faces, then he snapped it away and stashed the mass in the cupboard. He encouraged, “You’d better head on to school. I don’t want to prevent your pursuit of higher knowledge.”